Expect your armpits to go through an environmental adjustment. Photo / Getty Images

Here's What To Expect When You Switch To Natural Deodorant

Expect your body to need time to adjust from anti-perspirants to less interventionist ingredients

“Natural deodorant just doesn’t work for me,” is an expression Mary Futher has heard many times.

This made the founder of Kaia Naturals, a leading Canadian natural deodorant brand new to New Zealand, decide that some education was needed. When transitioning from using anti-perspirants (which block the sweat glands with aluminium salts) to natural deodorants (which both disguise and hinder odour formation), expect your armpits to go through some environmental adjustment.

READ: 10 Natural Deodorants To Add To Your Bathroom Cabinet

For those wanting to make the switch — and stick with it — read on for her frank account of what your nose might expect.

Mary: What a lot of people don’t realise is that your body goes through a detox phase when you swap out aluminium-laden anti-perspirant for a natural deodorant. The truth is, your natural deodorant isn’t making you smell worse — the bacterial communities under your arms are changing and it doesn’t happen overnight! It can take up to 30 days for your body to fully detox from aluminium.

A two to four week transition period can be expected. Each stage may vary depending on your body chemistry.

WEEK 1
If you have been using antiperspirant since you were a teen, your body will definitely be dependent on it.

You may go a couple of days or even a week without noticing much difference between your anti-perspirant and natural deodorant.

This is due to the aluminium compounds in anti-perspirant forming a gel-like plug that constrict your pores in the underarm. This prevents you from sweating and getting wet.

WEEK 2 
When you stop using anti-perspirant you will experience a substantial increase in growth of odour-causing bacteria in the underarm area. You may also feel additional moisture because your body is sweating, which is the body’s natural way to flush out toxins.

At the end of a study conducted at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ Genomics & Microbiology Lab, it was found that there was an initial increase of smelly bacteria (Corynebacteria) in the underarms of anti-perspirant users when they stopped using it.

Deodorant users did not experience the same increase in odour-causing bacteria when they stopped using underarm products. They even had fewer species of bacteria in their armpits compared to armpits of participants who used no product at all. It is important to know that this odour-causing bacteria won’t last forever, it is just a part of the detox that happens when you discontinue use.

WEEK 3
Bacteria levels may begin to subside. The culture of bacteria is able to re-balance and stop over-producing odour-causing bacteria. What this means is that you will likely notice any odour issues starting to decrease.

Underarm moisture levels will also normalise. It will take some time to get used to sweating under your arms, (powder in natural deodorant can help absorb that moisture) wearing natural fibres like cotton, bamboo and linen are your new best friends. As natural fibres are much more breathable, both sweat and bacteria can evaporate easier from the fibres.

WEEK 4
Your body should have fully adjusted to natural deodorant. It can take up to 30 days for your body to regulate itself, though for some people the detox stage is shorter. You can now continue using natural deodorant every day to neutralise the smell of daily body odour.

For some people, the stages may seem too scary to embark on, but it is so worth it when you realise that then for the rest of your life, you will have the security of knowing you are making a healthier life choice every single day. Thankfully, there are also a few things you can do to help you get through the detox.

Tips to Help You Get Through the Detox
Eliminate odour-causing bacteria in the shower with a natural antibacterial soap. Sweat + bacteria = odour. If you remove the extra bacteria that your body temporarily develops during the detox, it will significantly improve issues with feeling stinky.

Carry a travel-sized deodorant with you on the go to freshen up throughout the day while you detox.

• Kaia deodorants and soap are new to New Zealand and stocked in spas and boutiques. To find out more see Kaia. For stockists phone distributor Beauty Care 0800 223288 or email info@beautycare.co.nz

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New Zealand Herald

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